This tour offers the rare opportunity to enter exclusive areas of Vatican City that are off limits to the general public. Your journey begins with an early-morning drive to Rome, followed by free time to shop, sightsee, and enjoy lunch on your own. Then, after driving to the Vatican, your private tour commences at the beautiful Bronze Gate, which contains many outstanding Bernini masterpieces, and continues to a graceful Bernini staircase leading to the magnificent Royal Room. Adorned with paintings by Vasari and Raphael, this private papal chamber is a fitting site for the Holy Father's meetings with international heads of state. Next, by special permission, you will have the unusual privilege of visiting the Pope's private place of worship, the Niccolina Chapel (since the Paolina Chapel is under restoration); under the pontificate of Nicholas V (1447-55) the Vatican became a court of the muses; the Pope was really an art lover and in 1448 asked the famous painter Fra Angelico to embellish His private Chapel, the Cappella Niccolina. Three walls are covered with frescoes representing scenes from the lives of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, two archdeacons who had been widely venerated in Rome since the early Middle Ages. Fra. Angelico was able to accomplish this considerable amount of work only with the assistance of a large workshop, including Benozzo Gozzoli.
To conclude your private showing, you will have a rare opportunity to see the Papal Treasures. These include carefully preserved clothing, richly adorned vestments, precious jewels, hundreds of priceless gifts presented over the centuries by kings and queens and heads of state, and incomparable objects of art created for the Renaissance Popes by Bernini and Cellini.
Please note: Guests are required to wear suitable attire covering the knees and shoulders for the visit inside the Basilica or the Vatican Museum. No shorts, sleeveless tops or other revealing clothing will be permitted. This tour cannot operate on Sundays or Catholic holidays. Lunch is on your own. There is 1 mile of walking from the parking area to the Basilica and approximately 50 steps to negotiate. This tour involves approximately 4 hours of extensive walking on cobblestones and uneven surfaces throughout the whole tour, therefore this tour is not recommended to wheelchair guests and guests with mobility concerns.